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Babe Ruth teams shine at regionals, 13's World Series bound

By Michael Butler

The Tallassee Babe Ruth League 13-year-old all-star team is headed to the World Series in Jamestown, N.Y. Tallassee defeated West Alabama 6-2 in the Southwest Regional final in Demopolis on Sunday.

It was a rematch of the the state championship, a game that went to Demopolis 9-8 a few weeks earlier.

"The team played well all weekend," head coach Tommy Wisener said. "This is a real scrappy group that just keeps finding ways to win. It's a mixture of Tallassee and Reeltown kids that have come together and formed a bond to really play well together."

Tallassee's 13-year-old stars: Front (left to right): Hutson Lewis, Avery Brantley, Konner Taunton. Middle: Brody Smith, Brody Wisener. Back: Jack Butler, Baylor Clayton, Luke Chandler, Slade Carleton, Mason Henderson, Xander Johnston.

The Tallassee 15-and-under all-stars were one win away from matching the same feat in Childerburg but came up short in the championship vs. Meridian, Miss. 3-0.

Reaching the World Series is not easy. The field consists of ten teams from across the country.

Tallassee has sent three teams to the World Series at the Babe Ruth level (1990, 1993, 1995). The 13-year-old group in '90 traveled to Jamestown, just as the 2021 version will do next month. The 13-year-olds in '93 played in Springdale, Ark. In '95, the 15U team went to Millville, N.J.

Tallassee's first Babe Ruth World Series Representative - the 13-year-old all-stars in 1990

"I'm extremely proud of all the guys. We have a great group of parents," head coach Stephen Webster said of his 15U team. "The one thing I was concerned with before we started was not having enough pitching. They proved me wrong. Pitching and defense were outstanding. It's great to see the kids growing, becoming really good ballplayers and realizing their potential."

Brody Smith displays his father's 1993 plaque

The World Series run this year has come full-circle for some, including Webster. Webster played on the 1993 and 1995 World Series teams from Tallassee. He threw a no-hitter at the World Series vs. Pine Bluff, Ark. in '93. Webster's assistant coaches Rusty Smith and Brad Mason also played on those two teams. Now they are coaching their own boys. Smith has each of his sons on the two all-star teams.

"It’s been a swing of emotions," said Smith, who traveled between Childersburg and Demopolis last week. "Of course it has been stressful having to run back and forth between ballparks and practices but it is all worth it in the end."

Smith's son Blake is on the 15U team. Brody is a player with the 13-year-old boys.

"I'm so proud that Brody and his teammates are getting to experience this. It’s always been great being around this team and I am so proud that their hard work is paying off. It’s also been fun looking at our teams plaques and talking to the boys about the path it took for my group to get to the World Series. It’s brought up some great memories."

Wisener just missed reaching the World Series in 2014 as a coach of his son Jacob's team. Now the opportunity comes with his other son Brody.

"Jacob's 15-year-old team won the state championship and went to regional and was one win away from the World Series. It’s great to finally get there," said Wisener. "The two groups are a lot alike in that they play great defense and pitch good. But my philosophy is to play good defense and just score enough to win."

That is what the 13-year-olds will be shooting for beginning on Aug. 14. The 1990 team went 1-2 at the World Series. The 1993 team was 3-2. In '95 they went 1-2.

Video of Final Out at 13-Year-Old SW Regional
Video of Final Out (Facebook Link)
*Photos from 13-Year-Old Regional/Celebration

13-Year-Old SW Regional (Demopolis) Tournament Results
vs. Benton, Ark. - Won 12-3
vs. Rio Grande Valley, Texas - Lost 7-1
vs. Ponchatoula, La. - Won 14-0
vs. Rio Grande Valley, Ark. - Won 3-2
vs. West Alabama - Won 6-2

15-and-Under SW Regional (Childersburg) Tournament Results
vs. Phenix City - Won 10-3
vs. Littlefield, Texas - Won 8-0
vs. Monroeville, Ala. - Won 10-0 (5 innings)
vs. Sylacauga - Won 2-1
vs. Meridian, Miss. - Lost 3-0